By: Kamande Muchiri @MountKenyaTimes
Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi has come to the defence of Deputy President William Ruto, whom the Head of State apparently accused of moving too fast on his presidential ambitions.
Speaking yesterday at the party’s headquarters in Lavington, Nairobi , Mudavadi said the country requires swift action.
“Young people want change and changing the economy of this country requires swift action,” he said.
Mudavadi appeared to castigate President Uhuru Kenyatta for appearing to ask Kenyans to back the candidature of his handshake partner and ODM leader Raila Odinga in the 2022 race.
The ANC leader who was launching the party’s revamped digital platforms and unveiling of a youth charter indirectly hit at Raila’s presidential ambitions saying the time is opportune for young leaders claiming that the “old” have derailed the country.
“If people are worried that young people are running fast they must wake up to reality that young people are tired of being slowed down. Even me I am receiving pressure they are telling me to conclude faster and ease traffic moving forward,” stated Mudavadi.
His remarks come a day after the President Kenyatta urged Kenyans not to discriminate against elective seat candidates based on age.
“Leadership needs wisdom, which is mostly brought about by age,” the president said hours after conferring Nakuru municipality a city status.
Raila, 76, is highly expected to face off against DP Ruto, 54, in the 2022 presidential election.
The ODM boss is yet to formally declare his candidature in the 2022 presidential contest, though all odds suggest he would be on the ballot paper as efforts to consolidate the opposition continue.
Raila is expected to make a major announcement next week Thursday, December 9, including a declaration of his position in the 2022 political matrix.
DP Ruto has been severally accused of engaging in early campaigns alongside a cabal of elected leaders who together they have been crisscrossing the country popularising the hustler narrative as well disparaging the Head of State.
President Kenyatta in an apparent reference to Ruto, warned Kenyans against electing leader he said is in a hurry to take over the reigns of power.
The Head of State said Kenyans should not be surprised that those who started early campaigns are overtaken by those who were initially regarded as non-starters.
“Leadership is not a sprint, it is a marathon, you will be busy running fast and by the time you are done you run out of breath but mzee (loosely translated as an old person) who has been walking slowly by slowly comes and passes you and wins the race. Go slowly,” said Kenyatta.
According to Uhuru, the 2022 race requires experience.
“Don’t be in a hurry to be President, be calm you will get there. Don’t be alone ranger to the point of blaming everyone yet you don’t want to work with them,” the President added.
The ANC leader comments on Thursday were yet another indication to his opposition Raila’s candidature in 2022 polls.
Mudavadi has in the past condemned actions my unnamed individuals lobbying for Raila’s candidature who he said were keen to sabotage presidential ambitions of others.
His sentiments come amid reports that One Kenya Alliance (OKA) is divided on who to support between Raila and Ruto who are seen as the front-runners in 2022 polls.
OKA brings together Mudavadi, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.
Talk have been rife that Mudavadi is likely to disengage from the OKA brigade to join the Ruto-led Hustlers Movement in what could change the scenarios ahead of the 2022 polls.
“We do not want anybody, even at the lowest level, to feel intimidated when making their 2022 choices,” Mudavadi said.
The ANC leader was however categorical that his eyes are fixed on the prize and will not support any other person.
The ANC leader revealed that the party will not go it alone in the 2022 general elections as they are looking into joining other like-minded parties.
“Don’t panic about the deadline by IEBC in terms of forming coalitions. We are talking with other parties, and we will fulfill our mandate,” said Mudavadi.
The presidential hopeful also supported the move by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to withdraw from the Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness chaired by Chief Justice Martha Koome and a Technical Working Committee under the Ministry of Interior the citing its independence.
The former Vice President insisted that the role of IEBC must not be hijacked by any government agency.
“The independence of IEBC is critical to the people of Kenya. Along the path to 2022 polls, their role must not be hijacked. The genesis of tension in this country has always been botched elections,” said Mudavadi.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati wrote to the Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho announcing the commission’s withdrawal from the team saying the agency’s involvement will take away its independence.
Ruto and his allies who had raised concerns about the Judiciary’s involvement in the forum lauded Chebukati’s move.
The Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness and Technical Working Committee which comprises all ministries, agencies, and departments responsible for the election cycle brings together stakeholders mandated to prepare and provide logistical support for the elections.